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DISNEY'S `BEAUTY' IS METAPHOR FOR AIDS, CBS ANCHORMAN SAYS

CBS anchorman Dan Rather recently watched "Beauty and the Beast" and says he saw not only a pleasing Disney kids' movie but a metaphor for AIDS. In an article written for the Los Angeles Times, Rather likened the Beast - actually a prince who has been placed under a spell with a limited amount of time to break free from it - to an AIDS victim. "Think of the spell as AIDS with the same arbitrary and harshly abbreviated limitations on time and you feel the Beast's loneliness and desperation a little more deeply," Rather said. "He's just a guy trying as hard as he can to find a little meaning - a little love, a little beauty - while he's still got a little life left." Rather says Howard Ashman, the Oscar-nominated movie's lyricist and executive producer, died of AIDS but that Disney officials assured him the movie was not autobiographical.